DOL Issues Final Regulations for Multiple Employer Plans

Final regulations pertaining to association retirement plans, also known as multiple employer plans (MEPs) were published in the July 31, 2019, edition of the Federal Register. The final regulations provide guidelines under which more than one employer may be treated as a single employer for purposes of retirement plan participation. An important objective of such arrangements is the sharing of plan administration responsibilities and, potentially, costs, for a retirement plan that covers eligible employees of the participating employers. 

In this guidance, the Department of Labor (DOL) states that “expanding access to workplace retirement plans is critical to helping more American workers financially prepare to retire.” The guidance applies only to defined contribution retirement plans. The final regulations have no superseding effect on DOL Interpretive Bulletin 2015-02, which gave states the authority to establish state-facilitated MEPs.

The final regulations are substantially similar to the proposed regulations. Highlights include a simplified safe harbor for professional employer organizations performing “substantial employment functions” and a new severability provision.

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